Before we jump to our top picks for best desktop computers for kids, there are some crucial points you need to take into account when you are going to buy a computer.
1. Types of desktop computers
Desktops typically offer more performance for the cash than laptops and are less expensive to repair. They may allow for a more ergonomically correct work environment, generally come with better speakers, and allow you to view your work on a larger screen.
- Full-Size Desktop: Though they require a lot of room under or on top of your desk, full-sized desktops are the least expensive and the easiest to upgrade and repair.
- Compact Desktop: At less than half the size of full-sized desktops, compact or slim desktops are ideal if you lack space under your desk or if you plan to put the computer on your desk.
- All-in-One Desktop: All-in-one desktop computers, also known as "all-in-ones," integrate the computer and monitor in one case. The components are tightly packed behind and underneath the display, making them difficult to upgrade or repair. Meant to be space-savers, they're also designed to look less dull than traditional computers. You'll pay big cash for these models.
- Gaming Desktop: Speaking of gaming systems, they have no limits. You get the fastest processors, the most sophisticated graphics cards, multiple large hard drives, and lots of RAM. Cases are usually large and offer room for additional components like extra memory or dedicated sound cards. These tend to be quite expensive.
2. Choosing your OS: Mac or Windows
Personal preference and experience affect the operating system of choice more than anything, making it hard to recommend one over the other. The best way to tell which one is perfect for you is to try both out to see which one feels more natural for you to work on, and which one will work with your favorite programs.
Mac computers are generally more expensive than Windows-based PCs, though they tend to be a little more secure. With fewer MacOS PCs out there, hackers are less interested in making viruses for them. The closed-ecosystem approach Apple employs for its products also makes it harder to spread malware — though not impossible.
Windows PCs have a much more strong gaming ecosystem to enjoy and are definitely better for gaming enthusiasts.
Apart from that, the app ecosystem for both MacOS and Windows is very good — there are so many apps for both platforms so no matter what you need to do, you’ll likely be able to find an app to complete the task. Eventually, you need to choose for yourself, but definitely keep in mind that today’s Mac computers can also run the Windows operating system through programs such as Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion.
3. Power and performance
Performance is possibly the most important metric of any PC, and the CPU is the heart of that. You want at the very least a dual-core processor, but a quad-core will give you obvious performance. Intel’s Core i3 and AMD’s Ryzen 3 CPUs are fantastic in this respect, especially the latter, which support simultaneous multi-threading, which can make a CPU operate as if it has double the number of cores.
If you need a bit more power to make it the best desktop computer for photo editing, or video editing, or are planning to play the latest games, then preferably you will want to look for a computer that has a six-core (or better) processor such as an Intel i5 or i7 or an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7.
When it comes to system memory, or RAM, you want to make sure you have enough, and not too much more. A capacity of 8GB to 16GB is the sweet point for most users, including heavy gamers; 32GB and beyond is only really recommended if you’re doing a lot of heavy video editing, and will very much depend on the particular software you want to use.
A graphics card can be the most expensive part of a PC and is only necessary if you’re looking to play games. If you are, buy a GPU that fits your needs and budget. There’s no point in buying a $1,000 graphics card if all you want to play is Minecraft, but you’ll be disappointed if you try to play the latest AAA games on a budget GPU. Check out the specifications of the games you want to play to help decide which graphics card is right for you, or check out our list of the best GPUs you can buy.
The size of a hard drive (or solid state drive) decides how many programs and files you can fit on it before running out of space. A computer with at least 500GB of space is a good starting point. If you have a lot of photos, games or movies that you want to store, then you’ll want to consider a secondary drive with a terabyte or two of additional space.
Another thing to remember when thinking about storage is considering a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a traditional hard drive. SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives, which means you can open and find files faster. SSDs are your best bet for a boot drive, with traditional hard drives best suited as additional storage space and secondary drives.
Best desktop computers for kids
Eager to know what is the best desktop computer for kids on the market? Here are our top picks:
Acer is known for making its high-quality budget computers, but none out there stack up to the Aspire TC. You get a ton of awesome specs here for an extremely fair price! This computer comes with a nice 9th generation i3 processor and 8GB of memory. That’s plenty for any kid doing their homework or watching videos. You also get a fast SSD included, which is a huge plus over old style hard drives.
CyberPower is a prebuilt gaming computer company known for making great gaming computers, and this Gamer Xtreme version is a good choice for kids. It is not top of the line, but has enough power to play any latest games. That is due to the beefy Nvidia GPU and i5 processor.
Tiny computers have come a long way in recent years, and the Mini PC shows how. In this model, the company coped to fit a full desktop into a machine that fits in the palm of your hand. This has an Intel Celeron processor, which is definitely the weakest part of this computer. However, it’s more than fine for homework and basic tasks. Just note you can upgrade the 64GB of SSD space and buy an external harddrive for your files.
All-in-one computers are great choices for kids because there is no setup and minimal wires. All you need to do is take it out of the box, plug it in, and you’re ready to go. This model includes a full touchscreen display, something that kids will greatly enjoy. The specs work well, with midrange selections from CPU to memory. Overall, this is a good computer that’s elevated by the nice all-in-one design.
1. At what age should kids start using computers?
6 months. Early, right?
Depending on your lifestyle, the basic introduction to the computer might be as early as a week or two old as you hold your infant and surf the web. In reality, though, most children won't even notice the machine until at least 6 months of age. After this point, they may start to notice colors, pictures, and sounds.
2. How long can a desktop computer last?
Five to eight years
For most desktop PCs, a minimum three-year lifespan should be expected. However, most computers survive anywhere from five to eight years, depending on the upgrading components. Maintenance is also critical, as dust is very problematic for PC components.
3. Should I unplug the PC after the kids have done using it?
Make it a habit to unplug your computer every night. Not only is this a real energy saver, but it also can protect your computer from serious damage. It's not an old wives' tale — a power surge caused by lightning can completely fry your computer. To be on the safe side, at least unplug your computer during a storm.
4. Do desktop computers last longer than laptops?
Laptops have an even shorter lifespan of two-to-three years. Unlike desktops, which have larger CPU cases, laptops are compact and have minimal ventilation. And since they're usually carried around, they're often more susceptible to wear and tear.
5. Should I pick an all-in-one computer?
As well as traditional tower desktop computers, there are also all-in-one computers available. These have all the components built into a screen, and there are a number of advantages to this. First of all, they are stylish and space saving, as you do not need to have a big beige box sitting on your desk – just the screen and a mouse and keyboard.
As the PC is built into the screen, it means you don’t need to buy a monitor separately either, which can save money. Plus, with PC components getting thinner and more powerful than ever.
There are a few downsides you need to consider, however. First, is that they can’t be easily upgraded like traditional PCs, as the components are usually specially designed to be fitted behind the screen – much like a laptop. They can also be more expensive – and you'll have to consider the screen quality as part of your purchase. Still, they are worth considering, so we’ve included a few all-in-ones in this list of the best desktop computers for kids.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, check out the Acer Aspire TC. This computer can be used for both homework and watching some videos. A perfect blend for your kids.
Do your kids want a gaming computer? Then, we suggest the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme. This has all of the power they need to play their favorite games and is still good for school work as well.
Your kid’s desk is small and does not have a lot of space? The Mini PC is a good choice. It is extremely small, and can easily handle both media streaming and word processors.
If you prefer to get an all-in-one computer, the HP Pavilion All-in-One is the way to go. It has a great look to it, and saves space thanks to the fact that there’s an entire computer built right into the monitor.
Well, that’s all for this guide right now. We hope this guide could help you to choose for you the best desktop computer for kids. Choose wisely, and then your choice can make the kids happy!